If you want to understand what’s happening in the nation at large, you need to understand the unusual politics of Texas. On Tuesday, a prominent advocate of the idea that “less is more” when it comes to government has a big head start on a voyage he hopes will end at the White House.

At Monday’s Iowa Caucus, Sen. Ted Cruz beat the presumably unbeatable Donald Trump – the polls were in his favor. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he wasn’t surprised, however.

Patrick spoke to the Texas Standard Tuesday from Des Moines, Iowa, where he’s been stumping for the senator.

On last night’s win:

“Ted (Cruz) had the best message, he was the best candidate. He had the best ground game – 12,000 volunteers literally on the ground. I was telling people yesterday before we started to see the votes come in, when you have 12,000 volunteers, if you just get each one of those volunteers who’s really committed to bring two people to the polls with them you get 36,000 votes.

“I was not surprised by the outcome of last night. I believed and told everyone here that I thought Ted would win. … It was a great night for conservatives in America who’ve been looking for a candidate who not only has the right message, but has the team and the funding.”

On Cruz’s ground game and Texas volunteers:

“It was a decisive factor. … On Saturday, for example, I was over at the headquarters and just contributing my time to make some calls. The team made 27,000 calls Saturday. Most of the people, not all, most of the people in the call centers were Texans. … We are a big state … we can mobilize armies. But there were church folks here, there were conservatives here, all kinds of folks: business people, moms, blue-collar workers, you name it. It was a cadre of people, proud to come here and help.”

On whether he’d join Cruz if tapped to be part of the White House team:

“I can … clearly say 100 percent no. Being Lt. Governor of Texas is the best job next to being President of the United States, which I hope and believe Ted will be.

“I get a chance to make a real difference in the 12th largest economy in the world, and the best state on the planet, and so this is where I’m going to be. I’m helping Ted for no other reason than I’m a Christian conservative, as he is. I’d like to see us have another Reagan in the White House. We really haven’t even had the chance to vote for one. So I’m all in with Ted.”

On staying with the campaign:

“I’m in for whatever they need. I went to one of the debates early in the campaign. (Cruz) asked me to come on board back in September. I was honored to do so as chair of Texas and to be a surrogate speaker for him, to work with the media and volunteer wherever they need me. I’m going to New Hampshire … but my focus right now is on Texas. … Ted is going to win Texas, no question.”

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